Plus Size Barbie: Good For Whose Self-Esteem?


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A debate has emerged this week over an image shared by on their facebook and website. Because more and more plus size models are emerging to represent plus-size shoppers, there was a question of whether or not the iconic Barbie doll should also be made in a plus size version.

Says the accompanying text, "In all honesty, we want to know..."

Well, they are certainly finding out.

There are over 40,000 likes on the image, which is being shared all over the internet. The original image of the plus-size Barbie was taken from a winning Worth1000 contest entry, which has received renewed interest in recent days.

While some are supportive of the idea of a plus-size Barbie, not everyone is on board.


First there are the health advocates who feel that it is counterintuitive to give girls a doll that they feel promotes obesity as normal rather than as a serious health risk. Says one commenter, "No one is naturally fat for gods sake, that's sending the message to girls that it's ok to look like this and be unhealthy.. How about we stop obsessing about being overweight and teach our children to eat healthy and get out and play..."

Plus-sized women came forward to cast their doubts about the image as is. The main issue many had was with the "triple-chin." Excess weight can usually cause women and men to have double-chins, but the triple-chin was seen as a bit much. One woman even wrote, "Barbie doesn't need a double chin. You can be 'plus size' w/o the double chin. They could make a 'thick' Barbie."

There has been plenty discussion as to why there is always an extreme with Americans when it comes to weight. Either a person has to be extremely thin, and if that ideal is seen as unfair, one has to be extremely overweight to make up for it. Some are wondering why there's never any middle ground in the debate about positive body image for women.

But one of the most interesting series of questions asked was this: "Why make a plus-sized Barbie? Who is the target audience? What is the goal? That's what we should be discussing."

The majority or even all of the debate being had is by adults. Has anyone stopped to ask if kids even care? Or even if kids, overweight or not, would be interested in a plus size Barbie?

It seems that this is just another battlefield for grown-ups determined to control what's seen as healthy or attractive and what isn't. With that in mind, perhaps Barbie and other toys should be left out of it. If parents are concerned about a child's body image or health then it's a conversation that they need to step up and have with their kids.

Image via Worth1000 Facebook